No, my husband is not a hero because he took our children to the store

A while back, my husband took both of our children to the store with him because I was cleaning like a mad woman to get the house ready for guests and working diligently to meet business deadlines.

On this trip to the store, a man saw my husband in the checkout line and made a comment that was something like, “You’re one helluva father to take both kids and grocery shop.”

Now, to many of you, this may mean nothing–and maybe it was nothing–but it rubbed me the wrong way. For weeks, I debated on whether or not I should write about it and have obviously come to the conclusion that it’s important I do. Because even if this particular instance wasn’t a backhanded compliment and insult towards the mother and wife on the other end of this man’s words, there have been plenty that are.

Let me preface any further argument with this: My husband is an outstanding person and father. He works hard but he devotes just as much time at home and even more time into our children’s lives. In my mind, he is the unwavering picture of a good man, and that’s why I chose to marry him.

Hold Hand

My husband Matthew holding our daughter’s hand.

I firmly believe that devoting equal time and effort as parents and as professionals should be the norm whether you’re a man, woman, mother or father. I also believe that if a parent wants to devote their entirety to working as a stay-at-home parent, that should be accepted as well and whether they’re a father or mother shouldn’t matter.

That being said, I don’t think any father deserves a pat a on the back for taking his children to the store. The majority of mothers take one, two, three, six, eight+ children to the store every week–and to school and to that dance recital and Billy’s basketball game yesterday and so on. Yet I don’t recall anyone ever calling me one ‘helluva’ mother for doing that because that’s what’s expected as a woman and mother.

For so long in our society, the norm was that men worked to provide for the family and women had children and stayed home to take care of them. It’s an ideal ingrained in several generations and it’s been a struggle to turn the corner. But, people, it’s time.

Today, women fight to have an equal salary while working twice as hard to get there, and we’re not there yet. Women hold only 4.8% of the CEO positions at large, multi-million-dollar companies, meaning men hold the other 95.2%.

On the other hand, only 3.5% of men are stay-at-home dads.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with being a woman who takes her children to the store and keeps up the home, but there’s absolutely no reason that a man can’t do the same. Men are not at a disadvantage as parents just like women should not be any less capable as CEOs.

There’s a reason that when a woman obtains a powerful career or position, the first question people want to ask is in reference to her motherhood–“How do you balance being a mother and having a career?” or “Do you regret not having any children?”–but as a father, the questions in reference to parenting are few and far between.

There’s also a reason that when my husband took our two children to the store, a stranger was proud to let him know how spectacular he is for doing something 96.5% of women do day in and day out. I don’t know about you, but to me, that sounds more offensive than it does complimentary.

It will continue to take people like my husband who work full time yet STILL come home to be a father to ingrain a societal norm. It will continue to take women who strive to climb the career ladder while STILL being a mother every single day. It will take men who like to cook dinner and women who don’t mind fixing cars. It will take a society who is willing to open their eyes to equality much like we, as humans and as a country, have had to do repeatedly throughout history. It will take time, it will take effort, it will take more blog posts…

…but to the man who thinks my husband is one ‘helluva’ father, you’re right, but it’s not because his wife didn’t take our two children to the store that day. It’s because that’s what a real father does: he parents, just like mothers.

Cloth Diapering in St. Louis + A Genius Giveaway

Before Women’s History Month is up, I wanted to take a minute to talk about an inspiring lady from St. Louis who most definitely has made history and will continue making an impact.

About a month ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Jennifer Labit (pronounced la-bee, not labbit, as she might have you know). I’m sure many of you, especially those of you who are part of ‘the mob‘ know exactly who she is, but for those of you who don’t, Jenn is the creator and CEO mom behind Cotton Babies and several cloth diaper brands–her most famous being bumGenius. She began all of this on $100 and the struggle of choosing between feeding her family or diapering her children. Now, Jenn strives to create a world where women don’t have to choose–where women can affordably diaper their babies.

Jenn

Jennifer Labit [left] and myself at MommyCon Chicago.

I want to share two important aspects of her movement in this area, and nationally.

One:

Jenn is a serious advocate for women in business. She gathers up statistics and speaks repeatedly about the obvious inequality in the workplace between men and women. One statistic that sticks with me: Between 4-5% of women are CEOs of large businesses, meaning 95-96% of them are men. And in an interview I recently had with Jenn, she went on to say, “We are seen as mothers and caretakers before we are seen as contributors to business leadership, and you saw that with Marissa Mayer, who was hired by Yahoo! when she was five months pregnant. Of course the public is going to comment on her fitness as the CEO of Yahoo!, but their first comments were not about her education; they were not about her work experience. They were about the fact she had a baby growing in her belly. Does that disqualify her from being a leader of a large company? Heck no. Our brains don’t stop because we’re pregnant or lactating. There’s a reason we’re not there, and it’s not because we’re moms.”

That’s powerful, and it’s true.

Jennifer Labit

Jennifer Labit pictured with her adorable son. Photo courtesy of Cotton Babies.

Two:

Jenn also works tirelessly to insure she can help make diapering affordable and available to mothers around the world. In her words, “Every baby needs diapers. Moms have to have diapers to send their baby to daycare so they can have a job. Daycare requires you provide diapers. If they can’t afford to buy the diapers they need for their baby to go to daycare, Mom can’t work. If Mom can’t work, we remain in poverty. It’s a self-perpetuating problem. I just decided that we were going to do whatever it was going to take to fix it. So, we did, and we’re doing it, and it’s continuing to grow.” [check out the full interview with ALIVE Magazine]

Out of this, Jenn created Share the Love, which allows families–who are done with their cloth diapers–to pass them along to a local host who can give them to families in need.

So, for those of you looking to frugally (or fashionably) cloth diaper, head to Cotton Babies if you’re in the St. Louis area or check them out online if you’re not!

And Finally:

In honor of cloth diapering, St. Louis, being a mama and the month of women … and madness (coincidence? it better be), I present to you a genius giveaway:

Alicia bumGenius Stay-Dry 4.0

Alicia

Click the photo to enter the giveaway!

Click here to enter the giveaway!

Psst! If you click the banner below and tell me in your comment, I’ll include an extra gift if you’re the winner!

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This giveaway is only available to those in the US. The Alicia cloth diaper up for grabs was purchased at MommyCon and has been worn twice, washed twice.

Midwest Influencer Network’s VIP Blogger Lounge…

…took place over the weekend and it was a seriously exciting gathering of St. Louis bloggers, local vendors, free massages, booze, food and an awesome goody bag. What more could a blogger ask for?

#MWINetwork

#MWINetwork displayed at this weekend’s VIP blogger lounge.

There were so many brands, opportunities and networking possibilities available along with a chance for a local blogger to win $1000 and become the next St. Louis Ambassador via Explore St. Louis in collaboration with the Midwest Influencer NetworkALIVE Magazine and KSDK. Bloggers were able to present themselves in a 20 second video clip, filmed onsite, in which they could express why they love being a tourist in their own town. These clips will be displayed on the KSDK site soon for St. Louisans to vote!

Video Room

Allison Apprill of Warm Up Sunshine giving a wonderful 20 second video during the VIP blogger lounge.

If you want to become a part of the Midwest Influencer Network and enjoy free membership and member resources, you can join here.

The official entrant agreement and requirements for the St. Louis Ambassador search–for those who participated–are here:

Entrant Agreement

Click the Midwest Influencer Network information desk above for more info on the St. Louis’ Ambassador entrant agreement and terms.

 

 

Kid-Friendly On The Loop

It’s no secret that there’s plenty to do on The Loop on Delmar–you can enjoy some bites, smoke hookah, try on some trendy threads, grab a beer, see an art exhibit–but what about for the mamas and the papas of St. Louis? Well, I have good news: there are kid-friendly places to enjoy on The Loop too. Here’s a list of some places you can pop-in with kiddos:

1. Plowsharing Crafts

This artistic, handmade wonder has tons of colorful items kids can play with along with some trendy threads for babes.

Plowsharing Crafts

2. Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop

Soda pop and candy shop–do I really need to say more? No, but there is more–there are tons of fun toys and cut-outs for kids to play and take pictures with as well.

Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop

3. Street Performers

Kids thrive listening to music and watching people express themselves, musically. When it’s nice out, there are street performers on every block. If you find the right ones, your little ones may even get to play the drums for a while.

Street Performers

 

4. Insomnia Cookies, Ben & Jerry’s and FroYo

Because what kid doesn’t love the occasional treat?

Insomnia Cookie

 

5. United Provisions

Mostly because mom needs groceries, but also because the have great food options for full or meals or snacks for the little ones. Their food selection is also vast and unique–great to widen the mini-foodie horizons.

United Provisions

 

6. The Park

Just three blocks down from The Loop, off Westgate Ave. there’s a wonderful outside area and park. Tons of swings, three slides and play equipment galore for the little ones to get all their energy out before heading home.

Park

 

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To The Fat Kid At Heart Attack

Fries

It’s hard to talk about being healthy and eating correctly without making people want to roll their eyes all the way back in their head and eat a fat hamburger on a glazed donut bun. Believe me, I know. My mother had cancer when I was two, and after surviving it, she became a certified health nut. As you can imagine, I heard all about eating healthy, drinking water, taking herbal supplements and of course, the endless verbal assaults at every mainstream medicine commercial to ever air on television.

My rebuttal? What’s the point of living life if I have to cut out the things I enjoy most: food.

Funny thing is, we all grow up eventually and our priorities shift. One morning, I woke up tired of feeling tired of how I felt. I’m 25, average height, average weight, but yet, I can guarantee there are people who are 60 who feel better, more energetic, healthier i.e. happier than I do. And that is not okay. I should–and could–easily be in just as good of shape as I was in high school or college or before kids. So, I decided to take back my body by taking control of two things: my mind and what I put into my body.

Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel.” –Kevin Trudeau

At first, I dipped my toe in. I did #100DaysOfHealthy a few months back. It had its ups and downs. I was flakey at times, but I did it. I stopped eating added and unhealthy sugars, I cut out flour and dairy, I ran (almost) everyday, I oil pulled, I took supplements, I consumed a ridiculous amount of veggies, nuts and lean meats, and I felt freaking good, for the most part–damn flakiness.

Then, we moved. We lived with friends who had different habits. We kept all of our familiarities in a storage unit and searched for homes constantly. I slipped back into old habits and stopped caring because it was easy. Because, why not, everyone else doesn’t.

Then, one morning, I wake up with my husband on one side and my 8-month-old son on the other. Eventually my 2-year-old daughter plows down the hall into our bed, and as I’m in and out of sleep, laughing at my beautiful children, I think.

I think about my 22-year-old friend who has cancer. I think about my mother who survived cancer. I think about my husband’s co-worker whose brother died of a heart attack days ago. I think about my father who’s survived a stroke and a heart attack. I think about how my legs ache, how I crave sugar, how sometimes my chest hurts and how out of shape I am.

I don’t know what happens when we die, but I sure as hell know I’m not ready to find out anytime soon. I know I don’t want to ever entertain the thought, “If only I had taken better care of myself.” I know not everything is curable but so much of it is preventable. I also know I’m not willing to live with the consequences of setting a bad example of health for my children or the consequences of living unhealthily. I know I’ve seen too many people in the hospital for reasons that didn’t have to exist. Most of all, I know I want to live life feeling healthy and happy for as many days as I can possibly squeeze out of it, and if I have any inkling of control over how many days that is via my health, I’m going to utilize it. It’s worth never even seeing a fat burger on a glazed donut bun again if my kids have a mother, my husband has a wife, my blog has a writer, and I have a body and mind that is as clear and as healthy as I can possibly make it.

Get All Your Food and Booze Delivered in STL

We all have days where we can’t get out, don’t want to get out or just don’t have the time to prep a meal. In those situations, we so often feel the need to settle for the same solution each time–ordering a pizza in or snacking on junk food in the back of the pantry–but there’s a simpler, more fulfilling solution in STL: restaurant delivery services.

Popular in cities like Chicago and New York where several people don’t have vehicles, restaurant delivery services have also started popping up throughout St. Louis to offer convenient, fast and frugal delivery from many of St. Louis’ best restaurants that don’t offer their own delivery service.

So next time you’re stuck in a food-rut or just can’t force yourself out of the house, enjoy food–or booze–you actually like with one of the delivery services below.

GrubGo

Featured in Sun Times and the Kansas City Business Journal,  this restaurant delivery service partners with 56 delicious restaurants (East and West) in the St. Louis area alone and has the largest delivery footprint from river to river, according to Peter Wheeler, owner of GrubGo. With a guaranteed maximum delivery time of 45-55 minutes, GrubGo offers the option for locals to order from the restaurants they want and have it delivered for a starting fee of $3. 

GrubGo

Photo courtesy of Peter Wheeler, GrubGo.

Drizly

Wanting to tackle the legality of delivering booze in St. Louis, Drizly’s made its appearance here. Now, instead of leaving the comfort of your home, Drizly has paired with Randall’s Wine & Spirits so that St. Louisians can have alcohol delivered straight to their door in less than an hour. With an enormous beer, wine and liquor selection to choose from, Drizly offers two ways to get your booze–their website or their app.

The Food Pedaler

If you’re looking for a more environment-friendly delivery service that has the advantage of weaving through traffic, bicycle delivery may be your cup of tea–or bag of food. The Food Pedaler partners with several local restaurants to bring food to neighborhoods from The Loop to Grand Central for those who can’t or don’t want to get out.

Food Pedaler

Tim of The Food Pedaler making a STL delivery. Photo courtesy of The Food Pedaler via El Burro Loco.

The Bike Waiter

Delivering from restaurants in Downtown St. Louis, The Bike Waiter is another fast and convenient bicycle delivery service. The Bike Waiter offers individual and box lunches along with family-style and corporate lunch catering.

The Trendiest Park on the Block

In my exploration around STL, my children and I stumbled upon a new, hip park. It’s become the favorite, for now. Located in Maplewood, the park is part of MRH Elementary School and contains innovative playground equipment, a cute garden and chickens to observe … and cluck at. My family had a blast. On your next free weekend, go check it out!

You can find this park at 1800 Princeton Pl.

Park6

Park2

Park1

Park5

Park4

Park3

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